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Metro board asks new government to reconsider Massey Tunnel project

Glenda Luymes

Morning traffic flows in and out of the George Massey Tunnel in Richmond, BC, December, 14, 2016. (Richard Lam/PNG)

Morning traffic flows in and out of the George Massey Tunnel in Richmond, BC, December, 14, 2016. (Richard Lam/PNG)

The Metro Vancouver board is asking the new B.C. government to review plans for a bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel and explore "viable options and alternatives."

On Friday, the board approved a motion to send a letter to new Transportation Minister Claire Trevena asking for an update on the project.

In the lead-up to the election, NDP Premier John Horgan said he was inclined to defer to the Metro mayors on the tunnel project. With the exception of Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, the mayors are opposed to the previous provincial government's plan to replace the aging tunnel with a 10-lane, $3.5-billion toll bridge, fearing it will create traffic problems and eat up farmland.

Last week, Richmond council voted to ask Horgan to consider twinning the tunnel, an option Green Leader Andrew Weaver supported with a tweet saying he looks forward to "moving forward" with twinning.

Site preparation in Richmond and Delta began in April. B.C. Hydro is also relocating its transmission line from the tunnel to an overhead crossing, and work began on that project in November 2016.

Numerous studies and reports have been produced since the late 1980s regarding the improvement or expansion of the tunnel and Highway 99. It’s generally agreed upon that the congestion around the 58-year-old tunnel is unsustainable and safety improvements need to be made.

With Postmedia News files